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The Undiscovered Saboteur

The Undiscovered Saboteur

So, you made the list, you checked it twice and now one month into the new year and you’re back to the old ways of 2012!

Do list work?  Heck yes – as long as you create a list in a way that works for you.  Don’t confuse a Task List with a list of Goals.

Start with putting everything down: organize socks, balance check book, paint the kitchen, read email….EVERYTHING goes on the first list.  The purpose of the first list is to simply capture all those “need-to-do” thoughts that distract your thinking. Be sure to include things like lose five pounds, annual checkup, and love self.

Set the first list aside for a few days……

When you return to your list, review and decide if each item is a NEED or a SHOULD.  A need is something that must be done by you.  A should is something you would like done, but perhaps not by you. Example: annual checkup – that’s a need.  Only I can do that.  Paint the kitchen is a should.  I can hire someone to paint it for me.  Often the “should list” is really a list of task. You get to decide how to handle. Identify options to complete the task, or say to heck with it, and let the task go undone.  It’s quite liberating when you give yourself permission to just let a task go. I hire someone to pull my weeds (people tell me it’s therapeutic……HA!) I have someone organize my office clutter.  I choose how to handle my should list.

From your Need list, identify two or three things you want to work on first.  Never more than two or three. Each goal will require identifying steps to take to complete. Keep the task list to a maximum of five things.  Your brain can handle a few items at a time.  Give it a WHOLE bunch and it shuts down and refuses to work!

If losing five pounds is on the Need list – then I’m guessing it’s there as part of Healthy Life Style. In fact, I would create a goal of Healthy Life Style, then under it, list out what should be included. Example:

Goal: Healthy Life Style

-          Lose five pounds

  • Plan my meals

-          Schedule annual checkup

-          Exercise

  • Walk 2 miles MWF
  • Cycle class T/T

With this goal – I have identified a total of FOUR things I will do: 1. Plan my meals, 2. Schedule my checkup, 3. Walk 3x week, and 4. Cycle 2x week.  I can handle these few steps. As you complete your first item, pick up the next one and repeat the process.  Summarizing the process: Identify the goal, then identify steps to take to complete the goal. These steps could be task.

By the way – have you ever set a goal then changed your mind? No worries, this is your story, your goal, you are allowed.  If planning meals isn’t your thing, maybe buying box dinners is. Or maybe you prepare a week of healthy meals on Sunday, portion into servings, and freeze. Instead of planning each day – you simply grab a container and go.

How will you measure or track your progress and success?  Cross it off a list, give yourself a check mark, sticker, or record it in a journal? Tasks are easy to measure.  Goals require a bit more thought.  Certainly each step you identify to attain the goal can be recorded.

I work with a number of young professionals who have big dreams. AWESOME!!!  You have to have a vision in order to determine where you want to go! We will discuss Vision Boards and Vision Mapping in another post. The important point today is to not worry about failure.  Failure is part of developing something that works long term.  Agree with yourself that you won’t judge others, and you won’t judge yourself.  It’s ok to fail.  Imagine this, if you never tried, what would happen?

If you can dream it and believe it, you can achieve it. (Zig Ziggler)


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